By Alyssa Cantisani
Another December marks another farewell to some of our beloved student-athletes who are ready to embark on the next chapter of their lives, thanks to the impact of their coaches, teammates and academic advisors.
On December 9th, 150 people attended UConn’s Graduate Reception to show their support for the 14 student-athletes from football, men’s and women’s soccer, men’s track and volleyball, who accepted their diplomas.
It’s now time to turn the page and fortunately, a majority of the skills necessary to be a thriving student-athlete are easily transferrable to the real world.
Some of our student-athletes in particular are ready to put those abilities to the test. Whether it be to continue school at the graduate level or start their first full-time jobs, they will now say goodbye to four years of lessons learned and championships earned with their degrees in hand.
“One of the great things about being a student-athlete is that you have an incredible work ethic, you know how to work well in a group and problem solve in a quick and efficient manner,” said Ellen Tripp, the Associate AD for the Student-Athlete Success Program, “You also know how to communicate with a diverse group of people, because if you look at our teams here at UConn, you see how diverse they are.”
The academic advising counselors at UConn spend a majority of their time tracking the academic progress of the student-athletes. More importantly, these advisors simply spend time talking with student-athletes to check in and see how they’re doing. Because of those conversations, the advisors are able to guide these students and make sure they are maintaining a proper balance of academics and athletics.
“All the advisors we’ve had have been great,” said redshirt senior men’s soccer player Andrew Geres, “They’re really helpful and I truly commend them for all the effort they put into helping some of the kids on our team.”
There is no doubt that our student-athletes are ready to move to the next level, but that doesn’t mean that it can’t be a scary experience.
All student-athletes have a special connection with their college or university. They have spent four years working incredibly hard to leave their mark and even though the memories will last a lifetime, once that fourth year hits, it’s time to leave it all behind.
“I feel like I don’t remember how to make friends because as long as I could remember I’ve had a team and those have been my sisters,” said senior women’s volleyball player Kenya Cason. “It’s going to be weird not being here and it’s going to be unfortunate, leaving in the middle of the year, but I’m excited for the next chapter. This has been a great one, obviously, but I’m excited to start something new.”
Every staff member at UConn wants to see Husky athletes win, but the most important thing is to see these student-athletes graduate and begin to work in the field of their choice. With the skills they’ve learned while a student, that’s the biggest victory of all.